Report: Asrar Ahmed Raja
Produce from crops free of pesticides and chemicals will be available to buy as soon as May
Farmers and engineers at a Sharjah farm are getting ready to welcome the first harvest of an enterprising wheat project.harvesting machines will assemble at the fields in March, collecting the matured crops.the National visited the 400-hectare complex, about the size of 500 football pitches, in Mleiha. The project is being handled by the department of agriculture and livestock in Sharjah.
The first phase of the farm was opened in November by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, as machine operators drove on the fields disseminating seeds. In four months, the desert land at the base of rocky mountains has been transformed into a green oasis, ready to yield up to 1,700 tonnes of wheat.
“We are expecting the harvesting date to be any time between March 15 and 20,” said Dr Khalifa Musabeh Ahmed Alteneiji, Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock.
“The wheat will be going to the local market here in Sharjah and UAE.”
The crop has been grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals or genetically modified seeds. After harvest, it will be sent to mills for processing to make the wheat edible.
“We are expecting that the products will be available in the market in May or June,” Dr Alteneiji said.the aim is to reach a total area of 1,900 hectares in phases.dr Alteneiji explained the importance of growing the crop in a country that imports 1.7 million tonnes of wheat.“Wheat is a strategic commodity with high nutritional value that can be stored for a long time,” he said.“During the Covid-19 pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine, the world faced some problems in the provision of wheat and food supply chains. From that perspective, we received directives from Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, to start this farm.”When teams collected the soil sample for analysis, they realised that the land in Mleiha provided the most suitable conditions in the emirate to grow wheat, he added.